cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby Babadhari » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:04 pm

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring


Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
Carl Sagan
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/autho ... eDtU2Ku.99

:sage:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
Babadhari
 
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:23 pm
Location: lalita ghat

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:52 pm

mikenz66 wrote:If it's not possible to make such analyses experientially, I don't see why there would be so much in the Suttas and Abdhidhamma about it.


And yet those are two sources where references to billions of mind-moments are exactly not found... knowing thoughts as they arise, persist, and subside is possible, just as watching a monkey take hold of, swing on, and release a branch is possible.

But for instantaneous mind-moments of infinitesimal duration to be known as they persist is to start talking nonsense.

:shrug:
Last edited by daverupa on Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4251
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:54 pm

Greetings,

daverupa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:If it's not possible to make such analyses experientially, I don't see why there would be so much in the Suttas and Abdhidhamma about it.


And yet those are two sources where references to billions of mind-moments are exactly not found...

:rofl:

Exactly.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14728
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:02 pm

The question I had was about "votthapana cittas" in particular. I don't feel any closer to being able to recognize these experientially, much less how many might occupy a split second.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1784
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:55 pm

kirk5a wrote:The question I had was about "votthapana cittas" in particular. I don't feel any closer to being able to recognize these experientially, much less how many might occupy a split second.

Well, yes, I agree. I can't comment on that from experience.

However, that there are many mind-body processes are going on in split seconds doesn't require any particular Dhamma knowledge or training to figure out, and with a little training it is much clearer. I'm puzzled that anyone would have a problem with that. But some of the questions above seem to call these rather simple observations into question. Surely the Dhamma is about taking the teachings and comparing it with experience...

I'm inclined to think that the "billions and billions" is just hyperbole. However, I would not rule out that it is possible to discern these processes much faster than I currently can.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10538
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:14 am

mikenz66 wrote:Well, yes, I agree. I can't comment on that from experience.

However, that there are many mind-body processes are going on in split seconds doesn't require any particular Dhamma knowledge or training to figure out, and with a little training it is much clearer. I'm puzzled that anyone would have a problem with that.

I don't have a problem with that.
But some of the questions above seem to call these rather simple observations into question.

Which simple observations are you referring to? The topic is "cittas arise and pass away billions per instant" - obviously, not a simple observation. We still don't even have a first hand report of anyone observing an actual votthapana citta in the wild yet.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1784
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:27 am

Well, OK, but it depends on how you look at it.

I start with the assumption that the Commentaries/Visuddhimagga are based on experience of adepts, and try to understand what it is saying in those terms. I wouldn't have a problem believing that it was possible to to observe hundreds per second and I wouldn't be surprised that that is the sort of experience that the texts are based on.

On the other hand, if you start with the assumption that the Commentaries are just literary fiction, and/or think that the important thing about Dhamma in intellectual analysis of suttas, then you will most likely come to a different conclusion.

Even leaving aside the Commentaries, the suttas themselves talk about rise and fall of phenomena (I gave just one quote above). And since we are asked to "see for ourselves", it would be productive, I think, to ask how these statements in the suttas and Commentaries can be related to our experience.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10538
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:47 am

I started from the assumption that the Nikayas were sufficient, in the sense of their being particular leaves not left on the tree, if you take my meaning. The lack of the billions is noteworthy in this respect. I can see the commentaries being exactly the same sort of documents as this forum and modern Buddhisms generally, which is to say a relatively modern take on the available materials. But the Nikayas were this already, taking shape for a hundred or more years, with different ideas about what to do with those materials taking shape in (proto-)abhidhamma-vinaya-s, finally coalescing into scholastic differences in the commentaries and then even later, the Vsm.

It's just so baroque, to go all that way only to end up with an insane number and a bewildering un-experience-able here-and-now assertion that the Buddha never brought off the simsapa tree, if it was even there to be pulled, and one which had at best a local relevance in the context of scholastic debating in ancient India.

:shrug:

One may as well read Western metaphysics, imo, if one is going to spend one's time examining these things, "savant experiences" notwithstanding. I simply consider time here and now to be a more precious resource.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4251
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby SDC » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:33 am

So time is on the level with dhamma?

That seems silly.
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1030
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:36 am

daverupa wrote:I started from the assumption that the Nikayas were sufficient, in the sense of their being particular leaves not left on the tree, if you take my meaning. The lack of the billions is noteworthy in this respect. ... .

Yes, I get that. However, rapidly rising and falling phenomena is definitely in the suttas, and is quite readily observable experientially. If you take out the hyperbolic "billions" and replace it by "hundreds" or "thousands" I don't really see a problem.

Is there no interest in discussing how the sutta and Abhidhamma texts relate to actual experience?

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10538
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby chownah » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:40 am

mikenz66 wrote:Well, OK, but it depends on how you look at it.

I start with the assumption that the Commentaries/Visuddhimagga are based on experience of adepts, and try to understand what it is saying in those terms.

Experiences of adepts probably includes the experience of the Buddha speaking to Ajahn Mun. Should one be looking in these places for illumination of the meanings of the Suttas?
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2820
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:46 am

You don't take any advice from others with more experience? The advice I see in the Suttas includes:
"As for the individual who has attained neither internal tranquillity of awareness nor insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, he should approach an individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment... and ask him, 'How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated? How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?' The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

It would be odd to claim that one is following the Buddha's teachings and then to ignore such passages...

Of course, I can't go and talk to the authors of the Commentaries, but I don't see any reason to view them as intrinsically less reliable than modern interpretations of the suttas.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10538
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:50 am

From the suttas:
Life, person, pleasure, pain — just these alone
Join in one conscious moment that flicks by.
Devas, though they live for eighty-four thousand kalpas,
Are not the same for two such moments....

Breakup of dhammas is foredoomed at their birth;
Those present decay, unmingled with those past.
They come from nowhere, break up, nowhere go;
Flash in and out, as lightning in the sky.
(Mahāniddesa 42)
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:54 am

why should it be exaggeration
Mind(nama) arises and falls faster than matter and even something as crude as a computer processes quite fast:

Another supercomputer called MDGrape-3, built by the Japanese company RIKEN, has a theoretical maximum speed of 1 petaflop (1 guadrillion operations per second),
http://www.howstuffworks.com/question54.htm
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:54 am

mikenz66 wrote:Yes, I get that. However, rapidly rising and falling phenomena is definitely in the suttas, and is quite readily observable experientially. If you take out the hyperbolic "billions" and replace it by "hundreds" or "thousands" I don't really see a problem.

Is there no interest in discussing how the sutta and Abhidhamma texts relate to actual experience?

That was my interest. But we don't seem to be getting anywhere with regard to the citta in question here.
Santirana-citta is succeeded by votthapana-citta (determining-consciousness). Votthapana is another function of citta; the votthapana-citta determines the object in the sense-door process. After it has determined the object it is succeeded by kusala cittas or by akusala cittas. The conditions through which it arises are different from the conditions for santirana-citta which is produced by kamma. Votthapana-citta is not vipaka and it is not kusala or akusala but it is an ahetuka kiriyacitta. As we have seen, the votthapana-citta is actually the mano-dvaravajjana-citta which performs the function of votthapana in the sense-door process and is then called votthapana-citta. The mano-dvaravajjana-citta performs two function in the mind-door process it performs the function of adverting to an object through the mind-door, and in the sense-door process it performs the function of votthapana.

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/nina-abhidha ... bhi-13.htm
I'm still waiting for someone to describe this citta in a way that can be related to experience. "determines the object in the sense-door process" ... means what, exactly?
:shrug:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1784
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby pegembara » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:05 am

Things arising quickly many times in every moment. But billions per second?

Whatever we see, it is not I, not me, nor a man, not a woman. In the eye, there is just color. It arises and passes away. So who is seeing the object? There is no seer in the object. Then how is the object seen? On account of certain causes. What are the causes? Eyes are one cause; they must be intact, in good order. Second, object or color must come in front of the eyes, must reflect on the retina of the eyes. Third, there must be light. Fourth, there must be attention, a mental factor. If those four causes are present, then there arises a knowing faculty called eye consciousness. If any one of the causes is missing, there will not be any seeing. If eyes are blind, no seeing. If there is no light, no seeing. If there is no attention, no seeing. But none of the causes can claim, "I am the seer." They're just constantly arising and passing.

As soon as it passes away, we say, "I am seeing." You are not seeing; you are just thinking, "I am seeing." This is called conditioning. Because our mind is conditioned, when we hear the sound, we say, "I am hearing." But there is no hearer waiting in the car to hear the sound. Sound creates a wave, and, when it strikes against the eardrum, ear consciousness is the effect. Sound is not a man, nor a woman; it is just a sound that arises and passes away. But, according to our conditioning, we say, "That woman is singing and I am hearing." But you're not hearing, you are thinking, "I am hearing." Sound is already heard and gone. There is no "I" who heard the sound; it is the world of concept. Buddha discovered this in the physical level, in the mental level: how everything is happening without an actor, without a doer - empty phenomenon go rolling on.

Munindra


Image
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
pegembara
 
Posts: 659
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:06 am

robertk wrote:why should it be exaggeration
Mind(nama) arises and falls faster than matter and even something as crude as a computer processes quite fast:

Another supercomputer called MDGrape-3, built by the Japanese company RIKEN, has a theoretical maximum speed of 1 petaflop (1 guadrillion operations per second),
http://www.howstuffworks.com/question54.htm

Oh so now we're up to a quadrillion. The question is, how might anyone go about seeing for themselves if such a claim is true?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1784
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:07 am

kirk5a wrote:I'm still waiting for someone to describe this citta in a way that can be related to experience. "determines the object in the sense-door process" ... means what, exactly?

Well, I don't know personally. However, as I have said, if I start from the assumption that the authors of the Commentaries, and modern teachers who follow them, know what they are talking about, then I'd say you'd have to read the texts, or go on some retreats and find out. Books by Pa Auk Sayadaw, and others, such as Shaila Catherine (Focussed and Fearless http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=400, Wisdom wide and deep http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9790) go into details of what it takes to observe some of these things.

I'm not sure why observing this sort of thing (which is, after all, mundane conciousness) is dismissed as as purely speculative, whereas nibbana (which looks to me to be much more tricky) is seen as achievable.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10538
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:21 am

mikenz66 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:I'm still waiting for someone to describe this citta in a way that can be related to experience. "determines the object in the sense-door process" ... means what, exactly?

Well, I don't know personally.

Thanks. Does anybody here personally know what "determines the object in the sense-door process" means?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1784
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:16 am

Votthapanna citta simply performs its function in a series of cittas. This is the teaching of the arahats and Buddha. It shows that processes of cittas are arising and passing by themselves: no self.
It is not the case that one hopes to experience votthapanna citta, as there are other nama and rupa that are also appearing and may be object of understanding such as vedana, or color or sound or seeing(cakkhu vinnana).

Yet knowing the details of the processes helps one to understand the utter anattaness of each moment. No one can stop votthapanna citta arising and performing its function, and no one could make it arise.

Also the different functions of different cittas helps us to understand how very different each moment is: Not the same citta.

here is some more on kicca (function)
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/u_ ... _kicca.htm
Immediately thereupon there arises at the eye-door, and based on the sensitive eye-organ, the eye-consciousness, while performing the function of 'seeing' (dassana).... Immediately thereafter there arises the mind-element (Tab.I, 39, 55) performing the function of 'receiving' (sampaticchana) the object of that consciousness....

''Immediately thereafter there arises... the mind-consciousness-element (Tab. I, 40, 41, 56), while 'investigating' (santirana) the object received by the mind-element...

"Immediately thereafter there arises the functional, rootless mind-consciousness-element (Tab. I, 71), accompanied by indifference, while performing the function of 'determining' (votthapana) the object......

"Now, if the object is large, then immediately afterwards there flash forth 6 or 7 'impulsive moments' (javana-citta), constituted by one of the 8 wholesome, or 12 unwholesome, or 9 functional classes of consciousness (Tab. I, 1-8; 22-23; 72-80).
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: silver surfer and 6 guests